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The Lived Experience of Orchestral String Musicians with Playing Related Pain

Deanna Bourne, Amy Hallaran, Jane Mackie
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 34 Number 4: Page 198 (December 2019)

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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Rates of pain are high among musicians, and string musicians may be particularly at risk. The aim of the study was to investigate the lived experience of orchestral string musicians with playing-related pain. METHODS: The study used a Heideggerian phenomenological approach. Five professional and university-level string musicians were interviewed about their experience of playing-related pain, and transcriptions of their interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Participants engaged in a variety of types of musical performance, however they described orchestral playing as contributing the most to their pain. Pain led to increased focus on the body and less engagement in the music. They experienced a sense of loss in multiple domains of their lives, yet also described personal growth as a result of their pain. Participants were more likely to disclose their pain in student orchestras than in professional ones. CONCLUSION: Pain impacts multiple domains of musician¿s lives, and therefore must be addressed holistically by healthcare providers. While musicians are finding that it is becoming more acceptable to discuss their pain, pain is still not adequately addressed. Understanding the experience of musicians with playing-related pain could help healthcare professionals to better serve this unique population.

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